“Google has deliberately placed a systematic penalty on the vast majority of health sites to make sure that they don’t show up on the first page of search results. “
Something interesting happened in the health world recently, and I haven’t seen any news stories about it.
Google is deliberately censoring all “non-mainstream” health websites that have gained any kind of serious traction, without exception.
They’re not showing information that users want to see, or respecting what they’re searching for. Instead, Google is taking it on themselves to decide what health information you’re allowed to see, and changing your search results from behind the scenes.
I know what you’re probably thinking: this sounds like a conspiracy theory.
But that’s exactly why I wrote this post. If you look at the evidence I present in this post, you’ll quickly see that this is no kooky conspiracy theory — it’s real, and barely even a secret.
Now, when I say “censor,” I mean that Google has deliberately placed a systematic penalty on the vast majority of health sites to make sure that they don’t show up on the first page of search results. SelfHacked and Examine are just two of the sites that have been caught up in Google’s latest “blacklist” — but we’re also far from the only ones.
You can easily see this in action for yourself. In order to find SelfHacked content on Google now, you have to add “SelfHacked” to your search term or else it won’t show up. This isn’t the case if you try the same searches on Bing, Yahoo, or DuckDuckGo, where we still rank highly for many health-related search terms. (DuckDuckGo has additional benefits in that they don’t track you and serve much fewer ads, by the way.)
This isn’t just a change that affects service providers like us — these changes are also going to have a major effect on everyone’s ability to find accurate, scientific, and useful health information online.
Google as the Thought Police
Google has become the Thought Police for health content.
There’s been a lot of news about big tech companies de-platforming and censoring controversial figures.
We also know about Google firing James Damore and their ideological echo chamber.
There have been rumors that Google is working with China, even though they won’t work with the United States military. Peter Thiel recently wrote a piece in the NY Times describing their willingness to work for China, but not the US.
We also know that Google is moving away from their “don’t be evil” mantra, which is quite a low bar to begin with, if you ask me.
But what isn’t getting coverage is that Google has started censoring high-quality health content — even content that is backed up by research published in conventional medical and academic journals.
Some people have suggested that Google is in the hands of Big Pharma. They cite evidence of Google’s partnership with GSK, and their willingness to share their data and forge business partnerships with them.
Now, I’m not a conspiracy theorist, and I don’t subscribe to Google being bought out by big pharma — or at least, I don’t believe that’s their main influence.
I chalk it up to Google’s ideological echo chamber.
The question is, who gave Google the authority to say that SelfHacked and the hundreds of other sites they are censoring are not reliable websites?
For example, Google’s John Mueller keeps claiming that Google ranks sites that display “expertise,” “authoritativeness,” and “trustworthiness” (E-A-T). He has even suggested that website owners like me can improve our site’s rankings by asking other experts to weigh in on whether our site has these characteristics, and adjust it accordingly until relevant experts approve.
The thing is, no matter who I ask, they’ve all told me that SelfHacked is already authoritative, trustworthy, and displays expertise. You can look at any of our posts and judge for yourself.